Christmas Eve

December 24th, i.e. Christmas Eve, is over now. Here in Germany, Christmas Eve is the main event, while Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the time for family visits, eating too much food and hangovers.

The snow fall has stopped by now, at least in my region, but we still have a lot of snow on the ground and frost. Luckily, none of us had to leave the house today.

We spent Christmas Eve pretty much like every year. For lunch we had roasted filet of hare with apple cranberry sauce, roasted mushrooms and brussels sprouts. Apparently, we ended up with two vegetable side dishes, because the brussels sprouts were in the pantry and needed to go.

For dinner on Christmas Eve and every night until New Year’s Eve we always have herring salad made according to my grandma’s recipe. The resulting amount of salad is huge and it generally lasts at least until New Year’s Eve, by which time you’re usually heartily sick of it and happy that you don’t have to eat it again for a whole year. I still like it, though, and would probably also make it, if I were spending Christmas on my own. Filled into jam jars, it also makes a great gift.

Photos of the Christmas tree and presents are forthcoming.

And now for the night’s loot, behind the cut:

Presents given:
For my Mom (those presents were given together with my Dad, but he isn’t good about holiday shopping, so I bought them)
Nachtgeister (Nightlife) by Rob Thurman (Rob Thurman is one of my favourite literary discoveries of recent times)
Ein feuriger Verehrer a.k.a. Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb
Die Zahlen der Toten a.k.a. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
Tödlicher Verehrer/Mitternachtsmorde, a two-in-one edition of Killing Time and Dying to Please by Linda Howard
For my Dad: A plastic box with several drawers which serves as an office organizing/filing system from Staples
For both parents together:
A plate with crocheted cookies, handmade (the cookies, not the plate)
For my aunt and uncle:
A USB-drive, because you can never have enough
A pewter candleholder (reproduction of a Charles Rennie Mackintosh design)
Cookies from the local bakery
For the neighbour’s kid:
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. The boy is 14 and likes reading in English and Riordan’s style is accessible for ESL students.
For another neighbour’s kid:
A bag of Kinder Surprise eggs

Presents received:
Lots of books, which is exactly what I’d asked for what I’d asked for.
The Grimrose Path and Chimera by Rob Thurman (like I said, one of my favourite author discoveries)
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Warrior and Stranger by Zoe Archer. Archer writes swashbuckling, somewhat steampunky romances and has gotten a lot of good reviews of late. Warrior and Stranger are two installments in her Blades of the Rose series. I found Stranger particularly intriguing – also with regards to the PhD – because it features an African American hero and a white heroine.
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. More Steampunk romance, again with great reviews.
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane. Another author I discovered during my PhD research and enjoy very much.
Bone Gods by Caitlin Kittredge. I’ve been looking forward to this one very much, because I love the Black London series.
Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine. The grand finale of the Weather Warden series and another book I’ve been looking forward to very much.
Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan, first in a new urban fantasy that sounds interesting
A wall calendar with pretty pictures and Zen sayings
A chocolate Santa Claus

Now, my parents have gone to bed and I am left to my own devices. I came across Die Hard on late night TV, which is one of those holiday staples that the “Keep Christmas free from violent TV” advocates really hate. Never mind that it actually is a Christmas movie and probably one of my favourites at that.

Before going to bed, I’m going to rewatch Coasting, a little known British TV show, that’s one of my all-time favourites. It has seven episodes and therefore is ideal for “between the years” watching, because you can watch one episode per day, starting on Christmas Eve and finishing on New Year’s Night. I’m not a fan of marathon watching, because individual episodes tend to blend into each other.

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8 Responses to Christmas Eve

  1. Pingback: Boxing Day Update and some Links | Cora Buhlert

  2. Estara says:

    Nice haul ^^. My parents no longer have the patience to look for presents in time (or rather my mother hasn’t – she gets very harried this time of year), all of that goes into trying to find things for my little niece. I’m just happy we manage to have a lovely Christmas Eve and they’re quite happy with the presents I gave them – I’m the only one in the family with a bit of time to do something like create a calendar or a DVD of family pictures – being single.

    There was a horrible Christmas two years ago when my brother suddenly decided I wasn’t allowed to give my parents their presents during Christmas Eve at his house (because of some problems with the in-law parents then having to give presents to my parents… no, I never understood the reasoning either), because Christmas was for kids only. That was the most horrible Christmas I can remember – although we had some other interesting dramas before.

    Afterwards we sort of established that I would be with my parents for Christmas and we would visit my brother or he would visit us on the 25th or 26th. Works much better.

    This particular year may not have been very loot-happy but we had a perfectly lovely evening, carol singing, dinner, present-giving and midnight mass – all of this with snow silently falling.

  3. Cora says:

    Since I’m an only child and there are no young children in the immediate family, I still get the full present haul. And luckily, my parents figured out how Amazon works, otherwise I’d be stuck with slippers and calendars every Christmas.

    We skip on the singing, since none of us has a good voice, though we always begin the evening with me reading out the Christmas story from the Bible.

    Regarding the “no presents for adults” thing, I know a family where only the children get presents, while the adults donate to charities of their choice instead. Cynical me always wonders whether they really make a donation or just claim that they do. Another family I know has a rule that presents may only be unwrapped after dinner, which is really mean towards the lone kid in that family. Some people are really odd about Christmas presents.

    • Estara says:

      Heh, well my parents are 75 and 76 respectively and they really do NOT want to bother to learn using the PC. My mum did some PC courses a few years ago when I was gainfully employed as an rpg editor at online gaming magazine – basically to see what I was working with, etc. My dad had to ask me specifically how I made my money there, heh. He has now stopped working on side projects for former customers of his building company for which he had to use a PC on DOS and sits in front of the TV the whole day doing Sudoku and other word puzzles – and my mum runs the house, which is pretty big. However, she still occasionally enjoys playing solitaire on the pc ^^.

      She also helped my brother out a whole lot with looking after her granddaughter before she could get into a Tagesgruppe – both parents work full-time, so that was a lot of travelling between (almost) Nuremberg and Munich. She was really exhausted this year – there had been my dad’s 75th birthday on December 1st and she started organising that in October only, I think.

      None of us sing that well either ^^, but we always sang when we were small – might have been my grandmother’s influence – and so this is the way we start Christmas Eve – even my father, who is Muslim, sings along ^^.

      • Cora says:

        My Mom can’t handle a PC either, but my Dad is pretty PC-savvy at 72. One of my uncles is 81 and uses his PC all the time, though he cannot figure out the internet.

        We stopped singing the Christmas after my grandma, who always spent Christmas Eve with us and liked singing, died. That year we all sat there around the table, trying to recall the lyrics to “Stille Nacht” or “Ihr Kinderlein kommet” or whatever, and suddenly someone said, “Why are we doing this? Grandma is gone and we’re all crap at singing.” So now it’s just the Bible reading.

        • Estara says:

          Hah, we don’t remember the lyrics either! My mum has ritually saved those old coffe label collections (Tchibo oder Eduscho) of Christmas songs and stories, so now we all grab three that are the same edition and decide on what we want to sing ^^.

          My uncle who is my mum’s older brother and who had his 80th birthday this year is quite pc savy – on and off the web. He loves surfing around on East Prussian sites, etc. and dictating stories into the PC with Dragon Naturally Speaking.

          • Cora says:

            I tried getting my PC-savvy uncle interested in the Internet by telling him about all those great health and medicine sites and how he could use the internet to plan outings and vacation trips. No success so far.

  4. Pingback: Christmas Eve 2011 | Cora Buhlert

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